Sequels and Next Stages

Are we having fun yet?  Those winds are blowin’ across the mid-state.  Spring is here, school is winding down and everyone is making plans!  

Have you been to the movies lately?  One of our faves is “The Lincoln Lawyer” based on the book by author Michael Connelly.  The story is set in….wait for it…..Los Angeles!  It stars criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller, a hard-boiled dude who zips around town in a Lincoln Continental driven by a former client.  Haller doesn’t much care if his clients are guilty or innocent, he fiercely defends their rights to a fair and vigorous trial.  I had so much fun interviewing Michael Connelly about his inspirations, role models and the sequel “The Fifth Witness” out now.  Listen to Michael and then go see the film and read his stuff, it’s really fun!

In addition to the storms blowing through, young people everywhere are looking for that all-important post-graduation first job.  For me, it was a receptionist job at a huge law firm where I failed miserably answering on an old-fashioned multi-line phone.  From there, it was on to many other office-type jobs.  For “millenial” kids, priorities have changed and a new study tells us how.  Are these young adults looking to work more, less, focus on family?  I talked to Dr. Sanja Licina, co-author of the study.  She has some unexpected results.  

Well, that’s about it for this week.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, make it a meaningful one.  Enjoy the sunshine this weekend and I’ll catch you later!  Oh, and let me know how you like the new theme!

Here come the Choo Choos!

Following closely on the heels of Cheekwood’s wildly successful Chihuly exhibit last fall, this spring’s newest installation will have you and your family taking a train ride through some of Tennessee’s iconic landmarks.  Visit Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and you’ll see flowers blooming amid the garden-sized railroad.  And nighttime visitors will be thrilled by the lighted display.  I had the pleasure of meeting Cheekwood’s newly-installed President and CEO Jane Offenbach and Brian Busse, President of Applied Imagination, the geniuses behind this fabulous exhibit.  Listen to Jane and Brian and then GO VISIT!!!!!  The trains will be around until next holiday season, but don’t miss the chance to see this season’s bounty.    And, here are some photos of the exhibit under construction.







What makes for success?  Have you ever wondered how some people seem just made for it?  They have star power, and I’m not just talking about performers.  Well, it seems we can all take a lesson from some of  the most successful folks in history: The Beatles.  Two local writers have collaborated on a fab new book.  “Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles,” chronicles the rise of the British moptops in an entertaining yet informative style.  It’s a great read, and it’s out now.  Listen to Richard Courtney and George Cassidy as they tell the tale.  

If you’re a parent, you know how important is it for your kids to get a healthy breakfast each morning.  But for thousands of kids across the country, breakfast is a luxury.  It’s a sad fact, but there is something you can do to help.  We spoke with Dayle Hayes. Nutritionist and member of the School Nutrition Association.  She talks about a great collaboration with Kelloggs.  It’s called “Share Your Breakfast” and it’s happening now.    Now, visit the site and get ready to Share Your Breakfast.

Well, that’s about it for this post.  I hope you’re all enjoying the onset of Spring.  There is so much to look forward to this season.  Get out and enjoy the sunshine, take in an outdoor concert, visit a festival.  Nashville has so much to offer.  I hope to see you around!

There’s Magic in the Air…But Not at the Gas Pump!

Spring has really sprung in Middle Tennessee!  I’m lovin’ this gorgeous, warm weather and plenty of sunshine!  I wish I could say the same for my peeps in SoCal.  Sorry guys, for a change it’s a bit nicer here.  But we all know that won’t last for long.  And on this lovely spring day, the world says goodbye to one of the greats: Liz Taylor passed this morning.  So sad to see her leave.  She spoke out courageously about AIDS when it wasn’t popular.  And her legacy will live on in many ways.

And, speaking of legacy…I had a ton of fun last week talking to two people who left their mark on my children and I’m sure many of yours.  Mary Pope Osborn, author of “The Magic Treehouse” series of books and her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, author of the non-fiction companion research guides.  These women really helped spark the imaginations of so many kids while at the same time teaching them all about such weighty topics as science, history and literature.  My kids loved the books and it was a real joy to talk to them in person.  In fact, they’ve turned their stories into a live event that is now touring the country and bringing characters Jack and Annie right to the fans.  The show is in town this week.  You can catch it at the Brentwood Public Library on Friday March 25th.  Check it out!  

In case you haven’t noticed, gas prices are skyrocketing both in Nashville and in other major metropolitan cities around the country.  For many areas, that translates into reduced driving and more reliance on mass transit.  Last week, some of the countries top transit officials were in Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to pass a new transit bill.  I talked to Paul Ballard, CEO of Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, to find out what these high prices mean for Middle Tennessee.  His answers may surprise you.  Check out his interview and then see if you can grab a ride on the Music City Star railroad!  

One final note, I saw “In The Heights” last night at TPAC.  It was wonderful!  Talented cast, great dancing, uplifting music.   Go see it, you won’t be disappointed!

Have a great week everyone!

It’s All About The Water

This week spring has really begun in Middle Tennessee!  Those Bradford Pear Trees are blooming and it’s allergy time!  Just around the corner are all the spring holidays, Steeplechase, graduation days and then sumer vacay before you know it!  So, here are some stories to get you inspired.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the Master Distiller from the Jack Daniels distillery down in Lynchburg.  Jeff Arnett has been overseeing the making of Old No. 7 for awhile now and his team of experts was the subject of National Geographic’s show “Ultimate Factories.”  They opened their doors to give us all a peek into how the iconic brand gets its distinctive taste (hint:  it starts with the water).  Of course, some of it is a secret, but Jeff managed to give me some great information. The factory is open to the public most days of the year so go on down and see for yourself why this hot spot made it onto the show.    And, here’s a link to the show segment so you can see it for yourself.  Ultimate Factories, Jack Daniels.

If you’re like most people, spring is the time to clean out your house and maybe embark on some necessary home repairs and remodeling.  But finding the right contractor is a scary business.  There are so many disreputable people out there just waiting to make promises, take your hard earned money and then scram, leaving you with an unfinished project.  And I learned that when disaster strikes, such as last year’s floods, the crooks really come out of the woodwork and prey on people who are traumatized and unable to make good decisions.  Kia Ricchi, a contractor down in Florida, wrote a great book to help you make the right choice of contractor.  It’s called “Taking the Con out of Construction,” and she’s got some great information.  You can get her book from Amazon and other major booksellers.  

Also, last week, I told you all about Harpeth River Watershed Association’s efforts to clean up 40 tons of trash by June 1st.  Well, last week they collected another 3 tons of debris.  That brings them closer to their goal.  Don’t forget to visit them online to find out how you can donate and help cleanup our precious waterway.

And finally, go see “In The Heights” at TPAC.  Check out their website for ticket info and to check out their other spring offerings.  You’ll never be disappointed at TPAC.

Have a great week everyone!

There’s Still Some Cleanup Needed

Well,  I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.  After a whirlwind trip back to L.A. and a gaggle of family in town for my son’s senior piano recital at Vandy, I got slammed by a sinus infection and bronchitis.  Still dealing with the effects, but it’s time to get on with it.  On a brighter note, check out the blossoms on the Bradford Pear Trees!!!!!  I know for many of you, it’s an allergy nightmare, but before long the rest of the trees will follow and Spring will be here.

Well, onto business.  I had so much fun interviewing my friend Norma Shirk about President George Washington.  Norma is a war buff, attorney, compliance officer and one of the most interesting people I’ve met in Nashville.  She really makes history come alive with her amazing grasp of events and people and her talent for story telling.  I know we’ll be hearing more from Norma.  She’s smart, funny and a terrific interview.  Here she talks about a great book about the father of our country.  

This past week, I found out some staggering statistics about trash and other debris still littering our local waterways after last year’s historic flooding.  Michael Cain (no, not the actor), who is with the Harpeth River Waterway Association, talked to me about their cleanup challenge: 50 tons by June 1st.  They’re holding a series of cleanup events and asking for folks to donate to the cause.  The next cleanup is March 26th at River Plantation and they need all hands on deck, people!  I also learned so much about how our rivers and streams contribute to our quality of life in Middle Tennessee and why the remaining debris is a major problem.  Listen to Michael, then click on the link to their website to find out how you can help.  

There has been lots of controversy over the new Affordable Care Act.  Here in Tennessee, lawmakers want to give people the choice of opting out of the law and nationally opponents have been battling to see the ACA declared unconstitutional.  There’s no question this is not a perfect solution.  But small business advocates say it will be a big help for business owners trying to stay afloat.  I talked to John Arensmayer, CEO of the Small Business Majority.  He explained exactly how the ACA can help people and shed light on the tax implications too.  I really enjoy talking to John because he brings clarity to some very complex and frustrating issues.  Listen to John and check out the Small Business Majority’s website for more information.  

And finally, a couple of weeks ago I talked to some talented local people with a real history in Nashville.  The Princely Players is a group of performers who’ve been together since 1968!  These musicians started at the segregated Cameron High School and lived and performed through the Civil Rights movement and continue performing today.  Their combination of spirituals, poetry and gospel will move you to tears.  Check them out and check out their website to see where they will be next!  Princely Players

Well, that’s about it for now.  Just a little teaser, watch the National Geographic’s Ultimate Factories Thursday, March 10th at 9:00 CST.  Our very own Jack Daniels factory is featured.  Next week, I’ll be talking to their master distiller to learn some secrets!

Have a great week everyone!  And, don’t forget to  “Spring Ahead”!

Dance Yourself Silly!

You make me feel like dancin’, I wanna dance the night away! Yippee! Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the sun is shining, can Spring be far behind? Not to mention, March Madness is just a couple of weeks away and then…..Baseball!!!!!!

Do you have an healthy heart? Do you like to move to the music? Well, Primrose School is holding nationwide Family Dance Off that anyone can enter. Primrose is based right here in Franklin and I talked to VP of Early Education Dr. Mary Zurn about how to motivate your kids to get some exercise. She has some great tips for working out family-style. Primrose’s contest is on now and families can submit videos of themselves dancing. Voting takes place online, and the winning family will raise some serious money for their fave local children’s hospital. Here in Nashville, Monroe Carrell Children’s Hospital will be the winning hospital. Check out Dr. Zurn’s interview to learn how you can enter, wherever you are in the country!
And, check out Dr. Zurn’s website for more parenting tips. Dr. Z & Friends

Tax season is also upon us and if you own a small business or file your own returns, it can get pretty dicey year to year to keep track of the changes to the tax law. But, there is help available and using a trusted tax preparer can actually save you in the long run. I talked to my friend Gail Childress, tax manager for Flood, Bumstead, Mcready & McCarthy about what’s new for the 2010 tax year. She’s great at explaining difficult and confusing details without making me feel dumb! And when it comes to numbers, that’s how I frequently feel (just ask my husband about my checkbook!) Listen to Gail’s great tips and information and if you still have questions, run to the nearest accountant!

That’s about it for this week. I hope you all enjoy a nice, relaxing President’s Day weekend. I heard the groundhog did not see his shadow, so I’m expecting an early Spring. Keep watching this blog for some great happenings and events coming up in Middle Tennessee. We have tons of talent and culture here! Cheers everyone!

Oh Booksellers, Where Art Thou?

Okay, so I’m on the snow watch! And a shout out to Carol Birdsong, the voice of Williamson County Schools, delivering the message all the kids want to hear: SNOW DAY!!!!!!! Too bad it’s not Stan Chambers with the local surf report…

This past week I had the pleasure of talking to one of my new friends, Saralee Woods, owner of Bookman/Bookwoman, the independent bookstore making its nest in Hillsboro Village. Saralee spins quite a tale herself, explaining how her husband’s need for storage led her to an amazing adventure. It’s so heartwarming to know that some of these locally owned gems can still keep their doors open, but it’s a challenge! Saralee has done a wonderful job turning her place into a community gathering spot and keeping the merchants of Hillsboro Village together as one big family. Listen to Saralee tell her story. For more information about book signings and other special events check out Bookman/Bookwoman’s website.

What do you do if you love music, but don’t play an instrument or read music? In the case of Peter Woolfolk, you produce! Peter has produced what promises to be a blockbuster collection of original jazz pieces from some of Nashville’s most prolific musicians. “Jazz of Music City…1” is becoming a hit around the world and Peter is hoping it will become a signature of Nashville’s music scene. I had a blast talking to Peter and learning about how he pulled this CD together using his own blood, sweat & tears. And at the end, listen to the first track on “Jazz of Music City…1”

That’s about it for this week. If you’re in the Middle Tennessee area, enjoy the white stuff falling out of the sky! And if you’re on the West Coast, say “hi” to the Pacific Ocean for me! And to Carol Birdsong, thanks for the memories…

Ketchup, Kidz ‘N Jazz

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a brief respite from winter this past weekend and enjoyed the sunshine and mild temps. At the moment the country is bracing for an historic snowstorm and Superbowl XLV. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking to one of Nashville’s most talented musicians, Jim Williamson Musical Director of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. We had a terrific chat about jazz and its unique history in America. the NJO will be performing this coming Friday, February 4th at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt. They’ll be joined by another locally grown group: 3rd Coast Vocals. If you don’t think Nashville has a vibrant jazz scene, think again! These folks are making some great music together and you don’t want to miss the chance to see some of your fave musicians perform all together. Listen to Jim and his velvet voice riffing on jazz! For more info or to get tickets to Friday’s NJO Concert, click here. Nashville Jazz Orchestra

Do you know what Ketchup and kids have in common? Put them together and you get some amazingly creative artwork! The Heinz Ketchup company is hosting its annual “Ketchup Kreativitiy” contest for kids in grades K-12. I talked to pop artist Burton Morris, who is also one of the judges, to learn more about the contest. If you’re a fan of the TV show “Friends” you’ve probably seen Burton’s work. It’s in the “Central Perk” coffeehouse where the gang hangs out! Listen to Burton’s lessons on creativity and kids.
If you want to check out Burton’s work, learn more about him or download contest info, click here Ketchup Kreativity

Well, that’s about it for now. Everyone be safe, keep warm and take care until next time.


Stars Over Middle Tennessee

Is it cold enough for you yet? How about that white stuff? This week my challenge is to brave the slushy roads and remain calm. So far, so good and I think I’m over the panic. Yep, living here in Nashville has helped me to face down fears and embrace lots of new experiences.

And with this frosty weather come lots of great winter events. This week, the Brentwood Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce Foundation is kicking off it’s annual Star Gala fundraiser with a fabulous event. The Wines of the World on Saturday the 29th pairs some tasty dishes from Whole Foods Market with luscious wines for a truly memorable evening. Then, in March, the main event’s “Evening at the Acropolis” will give you another opportunity to help raise funds for the health and fitness education programs in Williamson County Schools and give support to the Special Olympics. Listen to Anna Hill, this year’s Star Gala Committee Chairperson, she fills you in.
For more information and to make reservations, visit the website right here. The Star Gala

Are your New Year’s resolutions wearing thin? Do you long for a quiet moment at work to catch up on your favorite magazine? Well, there’s a great new concept in publishing out there. VivMag, an online lifestyle magazine aimed at sophisticated, chic, upscale women, can help you out. I had a great chat with VivMag Editor-in-Chief Anne Russell, about this new trend. This month’s edition of VivMag offers up some great tips for keeping your resolutions and so much more. It’s tons of fun and you can check out a sample at their website. Listen to what Anne has to say.
And, here’s where you can see it for yourself! VivMag

And finally, tell me what you think about these posts. I welcome any and all input. And, if you have any story ideas let me know that too!

Until next time, stay warm Nashville!

We Shall Overcome…

Hi everyone! Are we having fun yet? Winter is nearly half over, and the Super Bowl is just around the corner, thank goodness!!!!!

As you can probably tell from the title of this posting, I’ll be giving you all a little dose of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s medicine. This past weekend there were events aplenty in Middle Tennessee, and although I was just a mere child when he died, his words still ring in my ears and his image is emblazoned on my memory. It’s quite a different thing to celebrate MLK Day in the South. While folks on the West Coast were burning draft cards and demonstrating at Cal, down here the Freedom Riders were waging their own battles. This week, I interviewed Tonya Micah, co-chair of Nashville’s MLK Day Committee. We had a terrific chat about Dr. King and his legacy of love, tolerance and inclusiveness. We agreed his messages are timeless and prophetic. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the MLK Day Federal holiday, so be sure and check out the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center’s website. Enjoy and be grateful! Tonya Micah

Last week, I talked to Robert Kerzner about the alarming number of people who do not have life insurance. He explained that it’s very affordable to own a policy, and in the long run, could save your family from dire circumstances. Well, this week, I talked to Esther Kim, a freshman at Atlanta’s Oglethorpe University. Her father’s untimely and tragic death left her family nearly destitute. She and her siblings have been working to support themselves and their mom ever since. I know you’ll be moved by Esther’s story. Esther Kim

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you a couple of great nights of music coming up next week. “Music In The City,” hosted by Nashville Lifestyles magazine, offers two nights of great music at both Tin Roof locations. Check out a slew of Music City’s rising stars and benefit the music program at W.O. Smith Elementary School to boot! For more information and schedule, visit their website. Nashville Lifestyles.

And finally, don’t forget to get your tickets to TPAC’s Shrek: The Musical! Opening night is January 24th!

Until next time, stay warm Nashville!